Do you know how many possible career paths exist for pharmacy graduates? Having a career in pharmacy isn’t just about dispensing medicines in a corner pharmacy or working as a scientist in a research laboratory. There are so many more opportunities that can provide pharmacy graduates with an exciting and rewarding career!
Appealing to anyone interested in health care, pharmacy often goes hand in hand with other health branches like medicine, public health, psychology, and business.
So, what can you do with a pharmacy degree? Check out the list below—is there something that catches your eye?
Top 12 Careers in Pharmacy
1. Community pharmacist
Do you love to work with people? Community pharmacy might be for you! Community pharmacy is one of the most common choices for young pharmacists, and perhaps the most visible. A pharmacist needs to have an in-depth knowledge of what every single one of those products does, how it might be of benefit and how it might do potential harm. A pharmacist’s technical knowledge needs to be matched by his or her communication skills.
2. Hospital pharmacist
Hospital pharmacists are medicine experts in the field of medicines. Hospital pharmacy provides the opportunity to work in a supportive team and to be actively involved in patient care. You’ll work closely with medical and nursing staff to make sure hospital patients receive the best treatment. You will advise physicians and nurses on the selection, dose, and type of administration and assist patients in all aspects of their medicines. As well as being responsible for dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists are also involved in the purchasing and quality testing of medicines.
3. Primary care pharmacist
A relatively new career path is that of the practice pharmacist. A practice pharmacist doesn’t dispense medicines. Instead, they work within a general medical practice to deliver direct support to doctors and their patients. They can often give more time and attention to individual cases than a busy community pharmacist can, providing quality care and specialized services such as smoking cessation. This career option provides a great option for pharmacists who want the opportunity to work closely with doctors and provide more in-depth care to their patients, in a non-hospital setting.
4. Researcher / academic
An ever-popular choice, pursuing research and/or academia after that first undergraduate degree is for those who enjoy working with ideas and may not want to give up the books just yet. Pharmacy grads can pursue research in pharmacy practice, as well as a variety of other areas including pharmacotherapy, drug discovery, toxicology, clinical sciences, public health and much more.
5. Pharmaceutical industry / clinical trials
Pharmacists in this area support the management and delivery of clinical trials of new medicines. The role involves coordinating studies from a medicinal perspective, ensuring that drugs used in the trials are imported, stored, accounted for, compounded, dispensed and used in accordance to strict protocols. It may involve liaising with hospital staff, counselling participants and carers, and educating medical and nursing staff.
6. Locum pharmacist
Have pharmacy degree, will travel! If you enjoy flexibility, you may enjoy being a locum pharmacist. Locum positions are available for many reasons—such as maternity leave, vacation, staff turnover, or relief situations such as when a regular pharmacist calls in sick. This might provide an opportunity to try out different work environments and practices. For those with an adventurous spirit, looking for flexibility and the opportunity to travel, consider a career as a locum pharmacist.
7. Government and NGO roles
Pharmacists have knowledge, skills and experience that can feed into advisory roles, both for the government as well as non-government institutions, such as health funds and private hospitals. Government roles can focus on access to medicines, or eHealth, or public health… the list goes on.
8. Military pharmacist
It might not seem like an obvious path, but the Department of National Defence employs registered pharmacists to work in the army, navy and air force. For a pharmacist, this adventurous role can involve being posted with other allied health personnel to work on board navy ships or be deployed with their unit into remote areas of Canada and overseas.
9. Mental health pharmacist
Mental health pharmacists in hospitals are responsible for providing clinical pharmacy services to the adult mental health in-patient wards, and psychiatric assessment and planning units. It is a highly specialized career path that requires strong teamwork skills and current drug knowledge in psychotropic drug therapy. The focus of this work includes managing the supply of antipsychotic medications to mental health patients in government units, outpatient clinics, community centres and specialist hospitals.
10. Women’s and newborns’ pharmacist
At the other end of the spectrum to aged care is the field of women’s and newborns’ pharmacy, providing clinical pharmacy services to maternity and neonatal patients. Most pharmacists come to this career path with a grounding in hospital pharmacy.
11. Pain educator, program director or consultant
Chronic and acute pain are fascinating areas to work in. Pain management is a constantly evolving field that encompasses many areas of treatment, not just pharmacy and pain medications. Pharmacists work with pain sufferers to manage their medications and coordinate other forms of treatment.
12. Drug safety officer
As a drug safety officer, you’re responsible for pharmacovigilance activities, including receiving and processing reports of adverse drug events and conducting regular conciliation with health authorities.
And a few more to choose from…
- Drug information or medicines
- Emergency or emergency or acute medicine
- Consultant pharmacist
- Management & mentorship
- Antimicrobial stewardship
- Aged care pharmacist
- Regulatory affairs associate
- Complex care coordinator